Pitzer Professor Halford Fairchild’s New Book Seeks to (Re)Solve Violence

(Re)solving Violence Claremont, Calif. (April 22, 2016)—(Re)Solving Violence in America, a new book written by Pitzer College Professor Halford Fairchild and students from his social psychology seminar, examines violence in America through multiple angles and lenses. Each of the book’s 11 chapters delves into the details of a different form of violence that affects life in the US—gun violence, sexual violence, police violence, elder abuse, violence in homes, workplaces and schools—then proposes ways to “(re)solve” the chapter’s subject.

“We use the term, ‘(re)solutions,’ to connote the dual meaning of solving the problem and renewing our resolve to work collectively toward ending violence in America (and elsewhere),” writes Fairchild, who is a professor of psychology and Africana studies at Pitzer.

In the book, Fairchild and five students—Oona Doyle ’15, Mariah Farris (PO ’16), Rebecca Nathan ’17, Nattanicha Wattananimitgul (PO ’17) and Witisada Wattananimitgul (PO ’16)—outline different aspects of violence, share current data and provide case studies.

“Violence is an epidemic in America,” Fairchild writes in the book’s introduction. “This volume was born from the horrors of American violence in the US news.”

The book is a product of both Fairchild’s desire to grapple with the problem of violence throughout society and his philosophy of teaching. In the first day of his Seminar in Social Psychology in fall 2015, Fairchild told his students, “We’re going to write a book.” The group then brainstormed which topics they would cover and who would take the lead on each chapter. They scoured databases, built bibliographies and spent class sessions reviewing and critiquing their work.

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Professor Halford Fairchild with students and co-authors from his Seminar in Social Psychology

“I really want to make students producers of knowledge, not mere consumers of it,” he said.

Dipa Basu, professor of sociology and Africana studies at Pitzer, calls (Re)Solving Violence in America “a well-crafted and collaborative piece of work.”

“A compelling argument is made for going forward—but never forgetting the past,” she said.

In the book’s final chapter, Fairchild recounts some of the mass shootings that occurred during the four months while he and his social psychology class were working on the book: at a community college in Oregon; outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado; and at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. While the book examines the horrors of recent history, Fairchild also outlines a “utopian vision.”

“One method to solve a problem is to imagine its solution—or ending—and work backwards,” Fairchild writes. “In (re)solving the problem of violence, we first imagine a future without violence … We envision a future world at peace.”

(Re)Solving Violence in America was published in January 2016 by Indo American Books and is available on Amazon. Professor Fairchild is donating all author royalties from sales of the book to Pitzer College.

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